Sonos finally embraces WiFi as Bridge sidelined

Sonos plans to do away with its wired network requirement, retiring the Sonos Bridge for most users by finally connecting to a music listener's WiFi instead. So far, Sonos has always demanded at least one wired ethernet connection, for a single speaker or Bridge, after which it creates its own proprietary mesh network between the rest of the speakers. Soon, though, that will all change.

The new SonosNet will rely on software bridging from the regular WiFi most people use in their homes, to the mesh network Sonos created.

Sonos' previous argument for SonosNet was that it couldn't rely on WiFi to accurately keep all of the speakers in-sync, which might lead to music playback being offset in different zones. To make sure that doesn't happen, individual speakers will still speak directly to each other.

There'll also be a boost in ease-of-setup, Sonos says. Installing a new Sonos system will be as straightforward as plugging the PLAY speaker into the AC, and punching in your WiFi password in the Sonos smartphone or tablet app, with SonosNet doing the rest.

Some users will still need a Bridge, Sonos admits, if they have WiFi range issues, but "the majority" should be satisfied with the new software system. It should also be cheaper for Sonos, too; the company has been running a long-term promotion where it bundles the Bridge with a new speaker purchase, but by switching to software it will presumably be able to retire that deal.